ICS has produced its paper following a dramatic reduction in the number of successful attacks against ships by Somali pirates, currently at a five-year low thanks to the combined success of sustained compliance with industry Best Management Practices (BMP), the use of private maritime security companies, the activity of military assets and new capacity building initiatives ashore.
Despite this, it remains the case that the pirates are active and retain the capacity to attack far into the Indian Ocean. ICS therefore continues to emphasise that it is premature to conclude that the crisis is over, with seafarers still held hostage in Somalia, some of whom have now been in captivity for three years.
In 2013, there were at least 13 reported incidents involving Somali pirates including two hijackings. ICS stresses that adherence to the industry’s latest Best Management Practices (BMP 4) and, where necessary, the deployment of private armed guards, continue to be vital self-protective measures. The maintenance of current levels of military protection provided by a global coalition of governments in the Indian Ocean is also considered to be vital.
The ICS paper explains the significant challenges the shipping industry has faced in responding to the crisis in the Indian Ocean, which escalated dramatically in 2007.